Thursday, July 09, 2009

Published Clarification on Sec. 3582(c)(2)

On June 30, 2009, the panel of Judges Moore, Gilman, and Phillips (E.D. Tenn.) decided United States v. Johnson and Moss, Nos. 08–3925, 08–3926 (6th Cir. June 30, 2009). The published opinion considers the § 3582(c)(2) motions of two defendants who were indicted for crack and powder cocaine offenses, but who were ultimately sentenced based only on the powder. The court makes clear that a sentence must be based on crack cocaine if a defendant is going to be eligible for relief under the retroactive crack amendments. A conviction that involved crack is insufficient. To be eligible for relief, a defendant must be serving a sentence on which the amount of crack cocaine had an impact. Otherwise, a district court is not authorized to reduce the sentence under § 3582(c)(2).

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